Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback Book

Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction Paperback

Part of the Very Short Introductions series

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Linguistics falls in the gap between arts and science, on the edges of which the most fascinating discoveries and the most important problems are found. Rather than following the conventional organization of many contemporary introductions to the subject, the author of this stimulating guide begins his discussion with the oldest, 'arts' end of the subject and moves chronologically through to the newest research - the 'science' aspects.

A series of short thematic chapters look in turn at such areas as the prehistory of languages and their common origins, language and evolution, language in time and space (the nature of change inherent in language), grammars and dictionaries (how systematic is language?), and phonetics.

Explication of the newest discoveries pertaining to language in the brain completes the coverage of all major aspects of linguistics from a refreshing and insightful angle.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.

These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144 pages, 17 halftones
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Philosophy of language
  • ISBN: 9780192801487

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

If I had my life and education to do over, I think I'd become a linguist. This small volume does a fantastic job of introducing the reader to the basics of linguistic study, providing a background in linguistic theories, language families, how not all languages follow universal rules, and introducing some of the most critical figures to the study of the field.

Review by

Not bad, but not great either. Matthews doesn't really give you a clear sense of what linguistics is, in my opinion, but he does cover a number of interesting areas. It's worth a read, if you're looking for a quick summary of a handful of interesting ideas, but if you want depth OR breadth, go elsewhere.